Edge Hill has announced a ground-breaking new Nurse Paramedic integrated Masters degree, the first in the UK.
The four-year MSci Nurse Paramedic (Adult) degree is designed to tackle the changing delivery of acute and primary care and improve staff retention within the NHS.
The role is currently only found in four other countries around the world – Australia, Poland, Sweden and Finland.
Students involved in the design of the course championed the programme as “bridging the gap between disciplines to ensure that evidence-based patient care can be delivered to improve patient outcomes in an innovative way” and reported that it was a fantastic opportunity to be involved in such novel course development.
Eleanor Fenney, Nurse Education Programme Development Lead at Edge Hill University, said: “This is an exciting time for the students who have signed up as their skills will be highly desirable in the workplace and they will be able to contribute directly to the development of the course and this ground-breaking role as real ambassadors for the new profession.”
Students will be on the frontline of healthcare, qualifying as both a nurse and a paramedic, and will be able to apply for registration with the regulatory bodies for both professions – the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Their combined clinical skills and autonomous decision-making will enable them to manage chronic and complex patients in the community, thereby reducing the number of 999 calls which result in A&E attendance.
And as they will graduate with both professional skill sets they will be able to enjoy wider career progression and the ability to diversify within their job roles, thereby increasing the likelihood of them choosing to stay within the health and social care sector.
Eleanor explained how the evolution of both nursing and paramedic practice prompted the need for a more integrated approach.
“There’s been quite a shift recently in how paramedics are working,” she said. “They are being called to provide much more complex care in the community than before and they now have a much wider remit than the traditional role.
“Only about 8% of 999 calls are now life-threatening – more and more often paramedics are attending patients with long-term conditions and more complex needs – but 9 out of 10 calls still result in hospital attendance because patients require a wider package of care.”
She highlighted a service in Rochdale which found that teaming advanced nurse practitioners with paramedics resulted in more non-acute calls being treated without the need for a trip to hospital.
“A&E admissions were reduced in surrounding hospitals by about 56% which is just incredible,” Eleanor said.
“But that’s using the resources of two healthcare professionals; a nurse paramedic can provide that care alone.”
Recruitment for the four-year course, which is due to start in September, has already been completed and several NHS Trusts have expressed an interest in employing students on completion.
Phil Crompton, Head of Allied Health Professions Education, said: “Having been a paramedic for three decades, I have witnessed first-hand the rapid development of the profession and the outstanding care that paramedics are able to provide.
“This is also reflected in the demand for paramedics to be employed in non-ambulance health and social care settings within the UK.
“This programme has not been designed to replace the role of the registered paramedic or registered nurse but aims to enhance both roles, enabling both ambulance services and the primary care sector to align their workforce transformation plans, based on service delivery needs.”